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VP Noli meets with Chinese PM Wen, VP Zeng

06 June 2006

(Beijing) Vice President Noli ‘Kabayan’ De Castro discussed bilateral issues, including Philippine-China trade growth, in separate meetings with Premier Wen Jiabao and Vice President Zeng Qinghong of the People’s Republic of China.
De Castro, who is on an official visit to China, reiterated the Philippine government’s commitment to strengthening ties between the two countries, and asked for the Chinese government’s help on specific issues.
The Vice President informed the two leaders that even as there have been advances in trade between the two countries; Chinese investments in the Philippines still need to be improved.
He revealed that Chinese investments in the country in the first three quarters of 2005 amounted to only P82.3 million, accounting for only 0.14% of total foreign investments for the period.
“We would appreciate the assistance of the Chinese government in promoting investment opportunities in the Philippines among your investors, particularly in infrastructure development, agriculture and fisheries, housing and mining,” he said.
In addition, he said that the Philippine government welcomes Chinese investments in housing “to help us cope with the country’s massive housing need.”
The Vice President, who also chairs the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) in charge of relocating informal settler families affected by the Rail Linkage Project (North Rail and South Rail), assured the Chinese government and business sector of the Philippine government’s commitment to complete the North Rail project.
De Castro echoed to both Wen and Zeng the request of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for China to provide a similar financial support for the Main Line South project, which would rehabilitate the existing railway line towards the Bicol region.
“This will spur economic and social development and boost tourism in that area,” he said.
The Philippine National Railways (PNR) signed an agreement with the China National Technical Import Export Corporation (CNTIC) on April 2005 for the Main Line South project.
De Castro also informed Premier Wen that preparations are underway for the latter’s visit to the Philippines scheduled for December this year.
He revealed that there is a possibility of coming up with agreements in at least ten areas of cooperation including energy, customs, inspection and quarantine as well as a framework for economic partnership in the next ten years.
China is one of our most important partners and neighbors. Our partnership with them has grown by leaps and bounds since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1975, but there are areas of cooperation that we still need to work on to address our common concerns,” he said. 

Ref no. VPMEDIA 06-059

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